Main Walk: 19 km (11.8 miles). Four hours 30 minutes walking time. For the whole excursion including trains, sights and meals, allow at least 9 hours.
Shorter Walk, omitting Dogmersfield loop: 16 km (9.9 miles). Three hours 50 minutes walking time.
Circular Walk, starting from Winchfield: 13½ km (8.4 miles). Three hours 10 minutes walking time.
Short Circular Walk, omitting Broad Oak: 9½ km (5.9 miles). Two hours 10 minutes walking time.
Explorer 144. Hook, map reference SU725540, is in Hampshire, 9 km E of Basingstoke.
4 out of 10 (3 for the Shorter Walk, 2 for the Circular Walk).
The Main Walk is full of historical interest, but its start is not ideal. Although you are soon out of the town and crossing Hook Common, this became overgrown after it was sliced in two by the M3 and grazing ceased. Thankfully the motorway is in a deep cutting and the road noise is only bad from the bridge over it, where an unimpaired view of Basingstoke will not tempt you to linger. The route then goes down into some quiet woods, at the bottom of which you stumble across a derelict section of the Basingstoke Canal.
You soon come to the reason for the canal's parlous state: the partially blocked western portal of the Greywell Tunnel, which collapsed in 1932 and is now home to one of the UK's largest bat roosts. By the 1970s the whole canal had been abandoned for many years, but on the other side of Greywell Hill the scene at the tunnel's eastern portal is now quite different. The 32 miles from Greywell to the Wey Navigation were reopened in 1991, the culmination of an ambitious 18-year restoration project.
Much of the walk is now along the canal towpath. After the canal crosses the River Whitewater you come to the weatherbeaten ruins of Odiham Castle, built by King John as a stopover between the royal towns of Winchester and Windsor. The walk then leaves the canal to meander through North Warnborough and the neighbouring town of Odiham, with its wide Georgian-fronted High Street.
After lunch in Odiham the walk rejoins the canal at Odiham Wharf and continues along some of its most attractive sections. The main route passes a picturesque Hunting Lodge and then cuts across a corner of the Dogmersfield Park estate (once a royal hunting ground) to another part of the canal. The final part is across fields and along country lanes to Winchfield station.
In 2013 there was a major landslip on the canal near Dogmersfield and the section of towpath in §8 & §14 was closed. It reopened in the spring of 2015 but was due to close again at the end of October for further repairs over the winter. In theory you can bypass the closed section via a long detour along country lanes, but a simpler option is to do the Shorter Walk (the only one unaffected by the closure). For the latest information contact the Basingstoke Canal Authority on 01252-370073.
The Shorter Walk saves 3 km by cutting out the Dogmersfield loop in the afternoon.
Directions are also given for two Circular Walks from Winchfield (both actually a figure-of-eight). After a different route from the station to Winchfield church these reverse a section of the Main Walk to Tundry Pond. The longer version then goes across Dogmersfield Park to Broad Oak Bridge, while the shorter version rejoins the canal at Sprat's Hatch Bridge. Both finish with the Shorter Walk route.
The direction of the outer loop of the circular walks was reversed in 2015 so that you pass the only pub on the route quite early rather than near the end, reshaping them as mainly afternoon walks with a late start. Even without detailed directions, navigating these walks in the previous orientation should be relatively straightforward if you prefer an early start with a late lunch.
Hook and Winchfield are adjacent stations on the line between Woking and Basingstoke. They have a half-hourly service (hourly on Sundays) from Waterloo, taking about 1 hour. For the Main Walk, buy a day return to Hook.
If you want to abandon the Main Walk, Stagecoach 30 runs hourly (not Sun or BH) through Odiham and North Warnborough to Hook station in one direction and Fleet station (nearer to London on the same line) in the other.
If driving, Hook and Winchfield both have large station car parks which are free on Sundays and cost £2 or £3 at other off-peak times (2015).
Take the train nearest to 09:45 from Waterloo to Hook, or an hour later to Winchfield for the Circular Walk.
The most convenient location to break for lunch on the Main Walk is Odiham, after 9 km. The first place you come to in the town is The Bell (01256-702282), a friendly hostelry serving basic pub food. There are several bars, restaurants and coffee shops in and around the High Street, including the up-market Bel & the Dragon (01256-702696) in the former George Hotel, which serves good if pricey food to 3pm (later on Sundays). The same building also houses the separate Next Door (01256-701145), a “contemporary restaurant and bar” which serves a good selection of food all day.
If you start late and want an earlier lunch the Fox & Goose (01256-702062) in Greywell is a particularly nice village pub. The walk route also passes The Anchor (01256-702740) in North Warnborough.
The only pub on the Circular Walk routes is the Barley Mow (01252-617490), after just 3 km; their speciality is a selection of gourmet sausages. However, you could extend the longer version's outer loop with a 2 km out-and-back detour along the canal to the Waterwitch (01256-702778) at Colt Hill, a Chef & Brewer pub which serves food all day.
The Winchfield Inn (01252-842129) is the suggested tea place on all the walk options. It is close to the station, has a large garden and is open all afternoon at weekends.
If you stop for an early lunch in Greywell you could break for refreshment at Next Door or one of Odiham's coffee shops. Note that the Barley Mow (3 km before the end of the Main Walk) is sometimes closed in mid-afternoon, reopening at 5.30pm.
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Out: (not a train station)
Back: (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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The directions for this walk are also in a PDF (link above) which you can download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
Click the heading below to show/hide the walk route for the selected option(s).
Walk Options ( Main | Circular )
Click on any option to show only the sections making up that route, or the heading above to show all sections.
- Main Walk (19 km)
Click on any section heading to switch between detailed directions and an outline, or the heading above to switch all sections.
For the Circular Walks, start at §7.
- Hook Station to the A287 (2 or 1½ km)
- Main route (2 km)
- Alternative route (1½ km)
- The A287 to Eastrop Bridge (1¾ km)
- Eastrop Bridge to Greywell (1¾ km)
- Greywell to North Warnborough (1¾ km)
- North Warnborough to Odiham (1¾ km)
- Odiham to Broad Oak Bridge (2 km)
- Winchfield Station to the Barley Mow (3 km)
- The Barley Mow to Dogmersfield Park (2½ km)
- Dogmersfield Park to Hellet's Copse (2 km)
- Dogmersfield Park to Broad Oak Bridge (3 km)
- Detour to the Waterwitch (+2 km)
- Broad Oak Bridge to Sandy Hill Bridge (1½ km)
- Sandy Hill Bridge to Hellet's Copse (1½ km)
- Sandy Hill Bridge to Blacksmith's Bridge (1¾ km)
- Blacksmith's Bridge to Hellet's Copse (2¾ km)
- Detour to the Barley Mow (+150m)
- Hellet's Copse to Winchfield Station (2 km)
- Main route
- Alternative route
Go out through the supermarket car park onto Station Road. For the main route, turn left and then fork right into Hook Road, through Hook Common; in 200m take a faint path on the right heading west across the common, eventually coming out on the A30 near its junction with the A287. Alternatively, head west along Rectory Road and then a footpath on the edge of the common; turn left onto the A30 and go up to its junction with the A287. On both routes, turn off the A287 into Holly Bush Lane opposite The Hoggett pub.
Arriving from London, the shortest route out of the station is through an exit at the London end of the platform canopy. Veer right through the supermarket car park and go out onto the main road (Station Road).
If this useful short cut is closed, you will have to go over the station footbridge and exit on the other side. Turn left onto a tarmac path and go up a flight of steps to Station Road. Turn left again to cross back over the railway.
The main route takes a little-used path across Hook Common, which can be boggy. The alternative route in §1b includes a long stretch beside a main road but is advisable in wet weather.
Turn left and go along Station Road for 200m, passing a light industrial estate on your left. Shortly before reaching a roundabout fork right into Hook Road, with the wooded Hook Common1 on both sides. In 200m, shortly before passing under overhead cables, turn right through a new wooden gate onto a permissive bridleway into the trees, initially heading W.
This faint path soon turns half-right, then slowly curves back to the left. In 350m ignore a path branching off to the right and keep ahead to emege onto an open part of the common. Continue across the rough grassland for 400m, still heading roughly W along a faint path and skirting some trees on your right along the way. Eventually the path goes into a belt of trees and ends at another new wooden gate. Go through this onto the corner of a playing field, with a pavilion off to your right.
Make your way across the playing field to the opposite corner and leave through a gap in the chain-link fence near a fieldgate. Turn right briefly onto an unsurfaced track, then turn left through a wooden gate onto a path through another wooded part of the common. In 100m this comes out onto the A30 by a bus stop, where you turn left and go along the pavement for 150m to some traffic lights.
For a route which skirts around Hook Common, cross over Station Road into Rectory Road opposite (slightly to the left). After this residential street bends left, keep right at a triangular green. Shortly before the end of this cul-de-sac turn left into a fenced path with a “No Cycling” road sign. Follow this round a right-hand bend onto the edge of the wooded Hook Common.
Unless you want to venture onto some paths across the common, stay on the surfaced path where it bends right again and comes to a tarmac lane. Turn left onto this lane and follow it out to the A30. Turn left and continue carefully alongside this main road to some traffic lights 600m away (there is a wider pavement on the far side, but you will need to cross back later).
At the traffic lights cross over the road joining the A30 from the left, the A287. Opposite The Hoggett pub turn into Holly Bush Lane, signposted as a footpath.
Head south-west along Holly Bush Lane and then a woodland path to Heather Row. Join a country lane which crosses over the M3 and becomes a byway. Follow this down to a derelict section of the Basingstoke Canal at Eastrop Bridge.
Go to the end of Holly Bush Lane and continue through a wooden gate into a wood. Keep ahead on a path through the trees and later across a more open area, to meet a country lane by Heather Row Farm.
Continue in the same direction along Heather Row Lane, which goes past some barns and curves round to the left. The road noise is a clue that you are approaching the M3, which you later cross in a cutting below. On the other side of the bridge, stay on the lane as it turns right and becomes a rough track, going downhill alongside the motorway for a short distance, then veering away from it.
After passing a few houses on the right keep ahead on the potentially muddy byway, ignoring ways off to the right. Go up a small rise and down a slope to reach Eastrop Bridge, above a derelict section of the Basingstoke Canal.
Turn left onto the canal towpath, heading south-east. Go up to and over the western portal of Greywell Tunnel to join a bridleway above the disused tunnel. Continue through Greywell Hill Park and down to the right of a small wood into the village of Greywell. Turn left onto Nateley Road to come to the Fox & Goose pub.
Do not cross the bridge but turn left to go down to the canal towpath, heading SE. There is an information panel on the towpath about this section of the canal, which has been preserved as Up Nately Local Nature Reserve. About 250m from the bridge, the main path forks left and climbs slowly away from the canal.
You could stay by the canal for a closer look at the tunnel entrance and then scramble up a small bank to rejoin the main path. In the unlikely event that the Greywell Hill Estate have closed the permissive path over the tunnel entrance you would need to return to Eastrop Bridge, cross the canal and turn left briefly onto a lane, then keep ahead on a bridleway to rejoin the main route.
Unless it has been closed, follow the main path as it swings round to the right above the partially blocked western portal of the collapsed Greywell Tunnel. Continue up a short slope to a T-junction with a bridleway and turn sharp left onto it.
Continue along the bridleway for 600m as it heads E near the edge of the wood, keeping ahead at several path crossings2. The path eventually goes up a short slope and comes to a wooden gate leading out of the wood. Go through this into Greywell Hill Park and aim for the left-hand of two large trees on the brow of a small hill ahead, where you can see Greywell Hill House3 behind you. There is a four-way signpost by the tree and you continue downhill in roughly the same direction, towards a small wood.
At the bottom go through a metal kissing gate and immediately turn right through a squeeze gate into a field. Keep left to go alongside the wood. In the bottom corner follow the field edge round to the right, then in 50m turn left through a squeeze gate. Go down the left-hand side of a wide patch of grass and out through another squeeze gate onto a lane in the village of Greywell.
Turn left onto the lane, passing some attractive old cottages. In 100m you come to a road junction with the Fox & Goose pub on your left, a possible early lunch stop.
At the Fox & Goose pub, turn right into Deptford Lane. Almost immediately veer left onto a footpath going over the eastern portal of Greywell Tunnel. Turn right and follow the towpath for 1¼ km, passing the ruins of Odiham Castle. At the Swing Bridge turn right and go along Tunnel Lane into North Warnborough.
At the pub turn right into Deptford Lane. Almost immediately veer left onto a signposted footpath, which soon emerges above the eastern portal of the Greywell Tunnel. On the far side turn right to go down to the canal towpath, with a zig-zag path going down to the tunnel entrance4 if you want to take a closer look.
You will be following this section of the towpath for 1¼ km. You soon pass a narrower part of the canal, the site of a former lock5. Later, just past a large turning area for narrowboats at their limit of navigation, the canal crosses over the River Whitewater on a low bridge. After passing a new wharf you come to the ruins of Odiham Castle, which is worth a visit (the entrance is to the right as you go in; there are some information panels inside about its history).
Return to the canal and continue along the towpath for a further 300m. At the Swing Bridge turn right onto a minor road (Tunnel Lane). In 350m this comes to a T-junction where you turn right onto a road called The Street, in the village of North Warnborough.
Turn into an unmarked gravel driveway just before The Anchor pub and head south-east for 600m to the outskirts of Odiham. Turn left into West Street and then right into Recreation Road. Cut across a recreation ground and go along residential roads to meet the B3349 near the entrance to Chalk Pit Farm. Continue on a footpath through a copse and along a field edge to a sports club. Veer left to reach the churchyard of All Saints church, passing the historic Pest House. Go down past the church into a small square containing The Bell pub and continue to the High Street.
Go along The Street for 100m. Just before The Anchor pub, turn left into a gravel driveway to the left of Malthouse Cottage, heading SE. Keep going in much the same direction for 600m: you soon cross a residential road, then go past school playing fields and finally the school itself.
The path comes out onto a road (West Street) where you turn left. In 125m take the second road on the right, Recreation Road, which soon comes to a recreation ground. Turn left onto a tarmac path, signposted as a footpath. At some point, veer right off the path and cut across the grass to an exit about 40m from the corner.
For a more direct route to Odiham church (which misses out some of the features described below) you could simply continue along the tarmac path for 500m, crossing the B3349 halfway along.
For the main route, go onto a residential road and in 40m turn right into another. Follow this uphill and round to the left to reach the B3349, where there is an unusual view on the right down the entrance to the aptly-named Chalk Pit Farm. Cross this busy road carefully and take the footpath to the left of a house. Follow this up through a copse, with a good view of the Chalk Pit6 on the right just before the end of the wood.
After the path leaves the wood continue on the left-hand edge of a large field. In the next corner veer left through the hedge and continue alongside a tennis court. At the end of the court, turn left at a path crossing, then veer right across a patch of grass towards Odiham's church.
As you enter the churchyard, the tiny house on your right is a 17thC Pest House7; a little further along the path to your right is a group of Almshouses8. Go down past All Saints church9 to a small square where there is an information panel about “Historic Odiham”. Opposite is The Bell pub, one of several possible places for lunch.
After stopping here, or to find other lunch places, make your way to the High Street10, which is about 100m north of The Bell. You could take the passageway to the left of the pub or an alleyway beyond the attractive “Little Court” house off to the right; the latter comes out directly opposite Bel & the Dragon, with Next Door on its left.
Go into the car park behind Bel & the Dragon on Odiham's High Street. At the end veer left onto a footpath leading out to a large meadow. Turn right and go along its edge for just over 500m, then turn right to reach London Road via the driveway to Mayfield House. Turn left to pass the Waterwitch pub and cross over Colt Hill Bridge at Odiham Wharf. Turn right to rejoin the canal and head east along the towpath to Broad Oak Bridge.
Go down the driveway to the right of Bel & the Dragon. At the back of its car park veer left and go through a wooden trellis gate with an inconspicuous footpath marker. At the end of a short enclosed path go through a kissing gate into a large meadow11.
Turn right and follow a faint grassy path near its edge, soon going through a gap in a hedge and then another 350m later (where it can be very muddy). In a further 125m the path comes to a kissing gate in front of Mayfield House. Go through this and turn right to go down its driveway. At the end turn left onto London Road, passing the Waterwitch pub on your left after 150m.
Continue across Colt Hill Bridge and turn right on the far side to go down to Odiham Wharf. Head E along the towpath, with the canal on your right, ignoring paths leading into a car park. The canal swings round to the left and goes under Odiham's bypass, the noisy A287. In a further 500m ignore a footpath on the left. After a bend to the right you pass under Broad Oak Bridge.
Continue the directions at §11.
Leave the station via an exit on the westbound platform and turn right onto Beauclerk Green. Follow this out to the B3016 and turn left. In 400m turn left onto a footpath across fields to Bagwell Lane. Head east along this and keep ahead past Winchfield church onto a footpath. Turn left in front of Hellet's Copse and go across a meadow and a field to reach the Basingstoke Canal. Turn left and go along the towpath to Barley Mow Bridge, with the Barley Mow pub just off to the left.
Leave the station via an exit on the westbound platform, near the bottom of the footbridge. Go past a few parking spaces to a T-junction with a minor road (Beauclerk Green) and turn right. Follow this out to the B3016 and turn left, towards Odiham (take care as there is only a narrow grass verge and the traffic is quite fast).
In about 350m you go past the entrance to a Pet Crematorium. Shortly after this, turn left onto a footpath (there is a stile in the fence to the right of the fieldgate). Head E along the right-hand field edge. In the far corner, go over a stile on the right and continue along the left-hand edge of a large field, now heading S.
In 400m, where there is a break in the deep ditch on your left, turn left at a footpath post and go past the left of a house to a lane. Continue in the same direction along the lane. In 150m, where it bends left, keep ahead onto a gravel driveway and go through a gate into the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin18.
Pass to the right of the church (which is worth visiting if open) and leave the churchyard through a wooden swing gate, hidden behind a large tree. Continue in the same direction near the right-hand edge of a potentially muddy field. In the corner, go through a squeeze gate and follow the path through a belt of trees, then through another squeeze gate.
Do not go through the squeeze gate opposite but turn left into a meadow and follow a grassy path near its left-hand side. In the far corner go down a slope and straight across a potentially muddy area, ignoring a fieldgate on the left. Go over a stile in the left-hand end of the hedge ahead and continue on a grassy path up a slope, slightly to the right towards a line of trees. Go over a stile in the trees and turn left onto the towpath of the Basingstoke Canal. In 400m you come to Barley Mow Bridge.
If you are not stopping at the suggested lunchtime pub simply continue on the towpath under the bridge.
To visit the pub veer left up an incline just before the bridge and turn left at the top onto a lane. Go down this to a road junction and cross over carefully for the Barley Mow pub. To return to the towpath you can go a little way back up Sprat's Hatch Lane and then cut through a car park on the left.
Return to the canal towpath and go along it for a further 1¾ km to Blacksmith's Bridge. Cross over the canal on the bridge and follow a footpath down to and alongside Tundry Pond. At the far end veer left and go up a driveway for 100m to a path junction.
With the canal on your right continue along the towpath. In 1¼ km you pass the section damaged by the landslide and can see the tower of Dogmersfield church over to your left, beyond the parkland belonging to the large house17 on the hillside.
In a further 500m go up an incline onto Blacksmith's Bridge and turn right to cross over the canal, passing a line of squat concrete pillars16 in the trees on your right. Go over a stile to the left of a white-painted gate and turn right to go down towards Tundry Pond15. Continue along a broad grassy strip by the water's edge.
On the far side veer left and go out through a kissing gate to the right of a metal fieldgate onto a driveway. In 100m you come to a junction, with a private drive leading to Dogmersfield Park14 mansion (visible 800m ahead), another drive off to the right and an enclosed grassy path going up the slope between them.
If you are doing the full Circular Walk, go to §10.
Turn right at the junction. After 300m along the driveway fork right onto a footpath leading to Sprat's Hatch Farm. Turn left and follow the footpath round the left of the farm buildings and then to Sprat's Hatch Bridge. Cross over the canal and turn right to go down to the towpath. Go along it for 900m, passing under Baseley's Bridge. Leave the towpath at Stacey's Bridge and take a footpath across a meadow and through Hellet's Copse.
For the Short Circular Walk turn right at the junction onto another driveway. In 300m fork right onto an enclosed path leading to a lane in front of Sprat's Hatch Farm. Turn left and follow this past the farm buildings and round to the right. Continue on an enclosed path towards a line of trees. On reaching them bear right to cross over the canal at Sprat's Hatch Bridge. On the other side turn right and rejoin the towpath, heading NE with the canal on your right.
In about 700m you pass under Baseley's Bridge and continue to Stacey's Bridge, which you can see up ahead. Immediately after this second bridge, turn sharp left up a short incline to leave the towpath. At the top of the bank, turn right through a gate and head NW across a meadow on a grassy path towards a wood. Go through a squeeze gate and follow a broad path through Hellet's Copse. At the far end go straight across a wide gap via two more squeeze gates.
Complete the directions at §15.
Turn half-right at the junction onto the fenced grassy path. In 400m veer left across a driveway and continue on a new fenced path across the estate. Continue down the left-hand side of a wood, past Dogmersfield Lake and along a driveway for 500m. After passing between two lodges turn right onto a footpath through a wood. In 500m turn left onto a footpath across a meadow to Broad Oak Common. Turn right onto a lane leading to Broad Oak Bridge. Cross over the canal and turn right to go down to the towpath.
At the junction turn half-right onto the fenced grassy path between the two driveways, signposted as a public footpath. At the top veer left across a driveway guarded by black metal gates to continue on a similar fenced path.
The right of way through the Dogmersfield estate has been rerouted; it used to go along the driveway.
You now simply follow this broad grassy path for just under 1 km, over the brow of a low hill. At the bottom of the slope on the far side keep ahead across a patch of rough grassland and go past a redundant kissing gate onto a path down the left-hand side of a wood. At the end of the wood you pass Dogmersfield Lake off to the right and join a gravel driveway.
Continue along the driveway for 500m, eventually leaving the estate between two lodges. Immediately after passing these turn right onto a signposed footpath into a wood. You will be following a path near the left-hand edge of this wood for about 500m, but the next turning is easy to miss. You need to look for a footbridge and stile at the edge of the wood on the left which take you out into a meadow.
If you miss this exit the woodland path continues for a further 350m and turns left in front of the canal; on this slightly longer route you would rejoin the main route just before Broad Oak Bridge.
For the main route follow a faint grassy path across the meadow, slightly to the right and passing about 50m to the right of a copse halfway across the meadow (where you have to negotiate a shallow ditch). On the far side go over another stile and footbridge onto a path between fences, then along a driveway across Broad Oak Common. At a T-junction in front of an attractive cottage turn right onto a lane, which in 250m comes to Broad Oak Bridge. Cross over the canal and turn right to go down to the towpath.
If you want to visit an alternative lunch pub, follow the out-and-back detour below.
Turn sharp right onto the towpath to go under the bridge, and follow it for 900m to Odiham Wharf. Go up onto Colt Hill Bridge and turn left to cross over the canal. The Waterwitch pub is on the right, just past the bridge. Afterwards, return the same way along the towpath and continue past Broad Oak Bridge.
Head east along the towpath for 250m. At Wilk's Water, the suggested route is to detour around the large pond to see the Hunting Lodge. Rejoin the canal and continue along the towpath for a further 1 km to Sandy Hill Bridge.
Go along the towpath, heading E with the canal on your right. In 250m the path splits, with a large pond (Wilk's Water) ahead on your left. You could simply continue beside the canal, but for an interesting diversion fork left to pass Wilk's Water on your right. Towards the end of the pond, veer left across the grass in order to see the (privately-owned) Hunting Lodge12 over a small white garden gate.
To resume the walk, go back towards the pond and bear left to pass between a house13 and the pond. Make your way over a small bank to rejoin the towpath and turn left. Continue alongside the canal for 1 km, passing the coppiced woodland of Lousey Moor on your left and a mooring point for narrowboats on the Dogmersfield Park estate on the opposite bank. Just before Sandy Hill Bridge there is a path on the left going up the bank to the lane over the bridge.
If you are doing the Main Walk, go to §13.
Continue along the towpath for a further 1 km, passing under Sprat's Hatch Bridge and Baseley's Bridge. Leave the towpath at Stacey's Bridge and take a footpath across a meadow and through Hellet's Copse.
For the the Shorter and Circular Walks, ignore the path on the left and continue along the towpath, under the bridge. In 150m you pass under Sprat's Hatch Bridge and will be following the towpath for a further 900m, under two more bridges.
Go up onto the bridge and cross over the canal. On the other side, turn left and follow a footpath on the bank above the canal. At Sprat's Hatch Bridge turn right onto an enclosed path through the Dogmersfield Park estate. Follow the path round to the left at Sprat's Hatch Farm and turn right onto another enclosed path, continuing along an estate driveway. At a T-junction with another driveway, turn left to reach Tundry Pond and turn right to go alongside it. Follow the path as it veers right and left to come to Blacksmith's Bridge. Cross over the canal and turn left to rejoin the towpath.
Fork left off the towpath and turn right at the top of the slope, crossing over the canal. On the other side of the bridge follow the path round to the left and continue through a strip of coppiced trees above the canal, soon coming to Sprat's Hatch Bridge. Turn right (away from the bridge) onto an enclosed grassy path to the left of a metal fieldgate, with a distant view of Dogmersfield Park14 mansion ahead on your right.
At Sprat's Hatch Farm, keep ahead on its driveway and follow it round to the left. Shortly afterwards, bear right at a junction to go through a metal gate onto an enclosed footpath. Follow the path between fields and keep ahead where it joins a driveway, still between fences. At a T-junction 500m from the farm, turn left towards a lake.
Go down the driveway towards Tundry Pond15 and through a kissing gate to the left of a metal fieldgate. The walk continues to the right; you can take either the signposted footpath beside a fence or a broad grassy path nearer the water's edge. On reaching a wood, follow the path round to the right, soon passing a line of squat concrete pillars16 in the wood. Continue over a stile to the right of a white-painted gate and cross over the canal on Blacksmith's Bridge. On the other side turn left to rejoin the towpath.
Go along the towpath for 1¾ km to Barley Mow Bridge (with a pub off to the right if you want to break for refreshment). Continue along the towpath for a further 400m, then take a footpath on the right across a field and along the right-hand side of a meadow to the edge of Hellet's Copse. In the gap between two woods turn right at a footpath junction.
Go along the towpath, heading N with the canal on your left. After passing Tundry Pond you can see the tower of Dogmersfield church over to your right, beyond the parkland belonging to the large house17 on the hillside ahead.
The canal goes through the section damaged by the landslip and enters a more wooded area. It gradually curves round to the left and by the time you approach Barley Mow Bridge, 1¾ km from Blacksmith's Bridge, you are heading W. Unless you want to visit the Barley Mow pub, continue along the towpath under the bridge.
Veer right through a car park and turn right onto Sprat's Hatch Lane to reach a road junction, with the pub directly opposite. After visiting the pub, cross back over the road and go back up Sprat's Hatch Lane, past the entrance to the car park. Turn right on this side of the bridge to rejoin the canal towpath.
Continue along the towpath for 400m, curving left and then right to head W again. At the start of another left-hand bend go over a stile on the right with a footpath marker and follow a grassy path curving left across a field. Go over a stile in the right-hand end of a hedge and make your way across a potentially muddy area past a fieldgate.
Go up a slope and continue along the right-hand side of a meadow for 350m, with Round Copse on your right. In the far corner go through a metal fieldgate onto a short track between Hellet's Copse and Round Copse. Do not continue through the gap into the next field, but immediately turn right through a squeeze gate with a footpath marker.
Go through a belt of trees and continue along a field edge towards Winchfield church. Go through the churchyard and out along its driveway to a lane, where there is a choice of routes to the station. The suggested route is to head north along quiet country lanes, passing the Winchfield Inn just before the station. The alternative is the reverse of the Circular Walk's start: a footpath heading north-west to the B3016, then along this road and Beauclerk Green to the station.
Follow a short path through a belt of trees to another gate and keep ahead near the left-hand edge of a potentially muddy field. In the corner go through a wooden gate to enter the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin18. Go past the church and leave the churchyard through its main gate. At the end of the driveway you come to a lane at a bend.
There is a choice of routes to Winchfield station. The main route is along quiet country lanes and passes the Winchfield Inn just before the station. The alternative route in §15b is the reverse of the start of the Circular Walk; this has less road walking but the B3016 has more traffic.
Turn right onto the lane to head N. In 500m turn left at a T-junction. In a further 700m the lane passes under the railway and turns sharply left. The Winchfield Inn is on the right in 200m, with the entrance to the station's car park a little further along the road. Trains to London leave from the platform on the near side.
Continue in the same direction along the lane, heading W. In 150m the lane bends left but you keep ahead across the grass, as indicated by a footpath signpost on the right. Pass to the right of a house and go up to another footpath marker, to the left of a tree. Go past a deep ditch and turn right to walk along the edge of a large field.
In 400m, at the corner of the field, go over a stile and turn left to head W along the left-hand edge of another field. This comes out onto the B3016 and you turn right onto this road (take care as there is only a narrow grass verge and the traffic is quite fast).
In 400m turn right into a no-through road, Beauclerk Green. As you approach some new houses, there is a turning on the left going past a few parking spaces to the station. Cross the footbridge for trains to London.
If you want some refreshment, go through the main car park and turn right onto the road. The Winchfield Inn is on the left in about 100m.
- Grazing on Hook Common ceased when the M3 cut through it and this large area became derelict heath and woodland. The Hampshire Wildlife Trust are undertaking a major restoration programme to re-establish its wet heathland habitat, with extensive tree clearance works and the reintroduction of grazing.
- Some deep ponds near the path were formed when Greywell Tunnel collapsed.
- The 18thC Greywell Hill House was acquired by Sir Guy Carleton, who had fought with Wolfe at the Battle of Quebec. He was later appointed Governor of Quebec and was one of the founders of modern Canada. The house is now the family seat of the Earl of Malmesbury.
- Greywell Tunnel has no towpath and it took six hours to ‘leg’ a canal boat through it. The first 600m of the restored canal has been designated as a nature reserve and this section is closed to boats.
- This lock had a fall of only 1ft (30cm), but raised the water level in the tunnel to help with navigation through it.
- The huge Chalk Pit at Odiham (a disused quarry) was used to intern Napoleonic prisoners of war and later to tether airships during 20thC wars. The private owners occasionally allow the area to be used as a venue for jazz concerts and the like.
- One of just five or six surviving isolation houses, Odiham's Pest House was built in 1622 to quarantine local people and travellers with the plague and other infectious diseases. It is open to visitors at weekends.
- The original Almshouses were founded in 1623 by Sir Edward More. Their modern replacements are still in use as such.
- Most of All Saints, Odiham is built in flint. It has a rather incongruous Tudor brick tower, hemmed in by two large aisles. Parts of the church date from the 12thC, but it has been extensively modified and enlarged over the centuries.
- Odiham's wide High Street contains many elegant Georgian-fronted properties (some are just façades for older buildings). The town used to have a brewery and the hops for it were grown locally, hence the presence of several converted oast houses.
- The meadows to the north of Odiham used to be a royal deer park.
- The Hunting Lodge on the edge of Odiham Common is a cottage orné (an ornately designed small country home, in rustic style). Built in the 1730s, the striking pseudo-Jacobean façade of this (otherwise very plain) gamekeeper's house was designed to be seen from Dogmersfield Park.
- The eponymous house at Wilk's Water was converted from two gamekeeper's cottages by the Redgrave theatrical family in 1956, and used by them as a country retreat.
- The Georgian mansion of Dogmersfield Park was built in 1728. It suffered major damage in a fire in 1981. Since 2005 it has been the Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire.
- According to legend, Tundry Pond was the original site of Dogmersfield village, which was relocated over a hill to the east because the owner of Dogmersfield Park wanted a lake view.
- The squat concrete pillars are WWII military defences. The 2½ km section of canal from here to the south-east is littered with these tank traps and the more familiar pillboxes.
- This was the dower-house for Dogmersfield Park (one set apart for a widow, usually on her late husband's estate).
- St Mary, Winchfield dates from 1150. It has a particularly fine chancel arch with Norman ornamentation, but unfortunately the church is usually locked.
» Last updated: August 9, 2015